Horse Sense on Alternative Therapies

November 11, 2018
 horse swimming

When you’re training and competing a performance horse, improving both your horse’s performance and post-competition recovery are top priorities. There are all sorts of strategies to accomplish this, and you’ve probably already included some in your training and care program.

But did you know that there are many non-invasive alternative therapies that don’t just help to improve equine performance, but even improve your horse’s recovery after a workout or competition?

Equine Massage

Equine massage has quickly grown in popularity to become a fairly standard part of many performance horses’ care. Massage can be a valuable tool in helping to relieve tight, sore muscles, improving a horse’s range of motion and overall performance. Pre-event massages can help to warm up a horse’s muscles, and post-event massages can help to relieve any residual soreness.

Massage is often used in conjunction with other therapies, such as chiropractic work or kinesiology taping.

Chiropractic Work

Whereas equine massage focuses on the condition of your horse’s muscles, chiropractic work can help to correct imbalances and issues in your horse’s skeletal system, particularly concerning the spine. Performance horses work at high athletic levels, and a slip or a fall may result in a skeletal issue that needs to be corrected in order for a horse to perform at his best.

Many veterinarians are now pursuing chiropractic education and offering equine chiropractic work as a service. Chances are it won’t be difficult to find a local equine chiropractor.


Acupuncture, which originated in China, is now increasingly used on horses. Performed by inserting needles in energy points throughout the body, acupunctures restores the flow and balance of energy throughout your horse’s body. Equine acupuncture is often used to help relieve pain, muscle soreness  and even anxiety.

As with chiropractic work, vets are increasingly being trained in and offering acupuncture services. Acupressure, which is similar to acupuncture but which uses pressure instead of needles, can also help to relieve pain and tension in the horse. Some equine massage therapists offer acupressure as a complimentary service. 


Hydrotherapy can be an excellent aid for horse recovery and overall well-being. There are many types of hydrotherapy, including the basic cold hosing all the way up to underwater treadmills and swimming. Hydrotherapy offers many benefits, from the cooling properties of water to a low-impact option for exercise.

If you don’t have access to an underwater treadmill, you can still offer your horse the fitness benefits of water workouts. A trip to the beach or even to a pond can be the perfect solution.

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape provides muscular support that can aid in horse recovery. Taping practitioners specialize in this practice, though you may also find massage therapists and chiropractors who offer it. Generally, a professional can teach you a specific taping method for your horse’s issue, which you can then follow in taping your horse yourself in the future.

Lasers, Magnets and More

There seems to be no end to alternative therapies designed to aid in your horse’s recovery, comfort and performance; lasers, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) systems and magnetic therapy are just a few. While testing and an understanding of the limits of these therapies is important, they’re very popular among many performance horse owners.

Additional Ways to Improve Your Horse’s Performance

All of the aforementioned alternative therapies may help to improve equine performance and aid in horse recovery from injuries and workouts, but don’t forget the importance of supporting your horse’s body from the inside, too. BRL Equine offers multiple supplements to help enhance your horse’s performance and recovery.

EQ-Royal’s natural and safe blood-building properties boost muscle performance, strength, speed and stamina. You’ll give your horse a competitive edge, whether you’re barrel racing, eventing, flat racing or jumping.

Un-Lock’s muscle supporting formula contains nutrients proven to improve performance, prevent muscle cramping and help your horse to maintain top speed longer. This means an increase in endurance and overall performance.

Learn more about these supplements and be sure to add them to your game plan for improving your horse’s performance and recovery.

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